MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Twenty-five years ago Friday the first patient was rolled over the threshold into the brand new Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

WVU Hospitals President Bruce McClymonds told MetroNews Friday that at the time it was a major leap forward for health care in West Virginia.

“The opening of Ruby Memorial Hospital back in 1988 really was a watershed event in making the changes happen in this state around quality of care, access to care, the scope of services available to all West Virginians,” explained McClymonds.

The price tag on the new hospital 25 years ago was $60 million. Eight-million dollars, of that, came from Hazel Ruby McQuain, a Morgantown resident, who with her husband, operated a plumbing supplies company in Sabraton. McClymonds said it was that gift that got the project off the ground and created one of the best health care centers in the country.

“I think what this [hospital] has enabled is to provide resources and services that weren’t available before for people to stay home, [in West Virginia],” stressed McClymonds.

Prior to Ruby opening those with cancer, cardiac and neurological ailments had to seek treatment outside the state at facilities in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Columbus. But with Ruby’s comprehensive care, patients could get those high tech treatments closer to home.

McClymonds stressed while the bricks and mortar of Ruby are a critical part of the operation, it takes thousands of workers to make the health care happen.

“[Friday] we’re celebrating the opening of a building 25 years ago,” said McClymonds. “But really it’s the people that makes the difference!”

Ruby has expanded several times in the past two and a half decades. McClymonds estimated to build a brand new Ruby Memorial, in 2013, would cost upwards of $1 billion.

McClymonds said even though a lot of things have changed when it comes to health care in the past 25 years Ruby’s mission statement remains the same: caring for patients, training health professionals and advancing scientific research.

An employee appreciation picnic was held Friday.

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